Joseph Carter Corbin, former principal of Branch Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), is one of the 2018 inductees into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
The son of former Virginia slaves, Dr. Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1833. He was the third African American to attend Ohio University and the second to complete a bachelor’s degree. After graduation, he served two terms as an elected trustee of the Cincinnati Colored School Board and was editor and co-publisher of the Colored Citizen Newspaper of Cincinnati for six years.
During Reconstruction following the Civil War, Dr. Corbin moved to Arkansas to work in higher education. He was elected State Superintendent of Public Education and served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Industrial University (now known as the University of Arkansas Fayetteville).
Dr. Corbin opened Branch Normal College on September 27, 1875 and served as its principal for 27 years. Under his leadership, Branch Normal College graduated the first college-educated African American in the State of Arkansas. Dr. Corbin died on January 9, 1911 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame was created in 2009 and seeks to acknowledge outstanding Ohioans who are recognized as pioneers in human and civil rights and who have advanced the goals of equality and inclusion. Alumna and nominator Dr. Gladys Turner Finney, an alumna of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, will accept the honor on Dr. Corbin’s behalf.